Take the lost and try again!

I spent the last two weeks hustling to sell sponsorship for desiFEST. Most days, I get nothing. No replies, no rejections .. just silence. I feel crappy and my ego takes a hard hit and I sit there upset and wonder “what am I doing wrong after 13 years of this ..” How do you pick up the next day and continue?

I remind myself that, I love the feeling of watching artists live their passion on stage and the opportunity we help to create for them. It’s addictive to see it .. I think about my team who work REALLY hard to put on an amazing 4-day event

I think about the PRIDE we feel as a community, standing united at Yonge-Dundas, breaking stereotypes and building new bridges with each other and I love exposing a new client to the culture.

I tell myself that “its ok to take the loss for today .. I have tomorrow to try again.”  When you take a hit, whether it is at work, or a new startup or in pursuit of your passion, don’t ignore that feeling .. its an opportunity to stay connected with WHY you are doing what you are doing and to find the courage and strength to continue .. tomorrow awaits.

– With Love

What is BEING YOUR BEST?

“Being your best is not so much about overcoming the barriers other people place in front of you as it is about overcoming the barriers we place in front of ourselves. It has nothing to do with how many times you win or lose. It has no relation to where you finish in a race or whether you break world records. But it does have everything to do with having the vision to dream, the courage to recover from adversity and the determination never to be shifted from your goals.”    Kieren Perkins, Olympic Swimming medalist

What a wonderful way to look “being your best” .. Schools don’t teach this attitude .. they SHOULD! .. at least back in the day, we had after school programs .. some of my best lessons in life came during basketball or the music program .. but now the kids get pushed out at 3:30 .. most parents don’t come home till 6pm and there is the gap that my generation (i.e over 40) needs to help solve.

Young people need a different version of being the best and academic success can not continue to the main measuring stick.

In the meantime, if you know a young person.. share this .. and coach them and help them see that “being their best” really means.

– With love

If you liked what you read, tag a friend that can benefit from this ..

Saying NO is as POWERFUL as Saying YES

Thank you for all the birthday wishes! It was a great day and I am thankful for everyone in my life ..

Today, take a minute to realize that the opportunities that knock on your door needs to be filtered through either a YES or NO filter. (If you don’t have one, use mine)

Say YES,

– when it gives you a chance to grow as a person

– learn a new skill(s)

– improve your finances

– expand your network

Say NO, if it doesn’t meet 2 or more of the list above.

This is my checklist. Maybe it’s not the best checklist for you, but having a NO list, IS the best way to ensure you say YES to the right opportunities.

– With Love

(PS .. the image is when I got my first bamboo tattoo in Thailand)

Happy Birthday To Me!

Happy Birthday To Me!

I turn 44 today.

This marks the 30th year in Canada for me.

I woke up reflecting about this incredible country we live in. Bringing us to Canada is the GREATEST gift my parents gave me.

There is nothing easy about being an immigrant. Especially when you had left India at age 4 and then Singapore at 14. The moves break any continuity you build and you certainly don’t make any life-long friends during these days. While weren’t poor, nothing was easy.

When we arrived in Scarborough, it was Jan 1989. I fell in love immediately with the people, the hustle and the diversity I saw. I found a new purpose and renewed love of life. Over the 30 years, I have made amazing friends, built 3 wonderful businesses, had the pleasure of hiring 100+ staff, built desiFEST, Canada largest South Asian music festival, married the love of my life and have 2 amazing kids.

I am thankful for everyone in my life and I am thankful I get to wake up in this amazing country and .. yes, happy birthday indeed!

– with love!

Challenge your Inner Voice!

Have you ever been told “don’t settle in life”? I was thinking about this while talking to a new startup I am mentoring. What does this notion of ‘settling down” mean and why do we do it?

In my opinion, settling down is going into ‘survival mode’ .. it’s in all of our DNA and its been there for 100s of years. You see, working hard, sacrificing time with family and friends, choosing to chase your dreams and not chill is a choice .. but it is a choice our DNA hates! .. It wants us to take less risk, be comfortable where we are and do the least to survive. So, you are fighting an DEEP internal urge..every time you dream big!

While building a business, there are moments where you have to choose what you are willing to sacrifice to get to the next level. This is something we can’t plan .. it’s something that comes from within .. a drive that is louder than your DNA .. This is why some people work 9-5 and look forward to going home and watching TV to relax and why some of us put in 20hr days …

The problem, both in life and business, is that the middle place A.K.A ‘comfort zone’ is the WORST place to be in. If you are growing .. there is momentum and new opportunities. If you are not growing, there are lessons and opportunities to grow and self-reflect. If you are in the middle.. you are surviving .. but slowing dying.

If your GOALS aren’t big enough. If you are not consciously building momentum or challenging yourself and your team to get out of survival mode .. you are in trouble.

It’s January, take the time to reflect and see where you are and where your business is … and if needed, make the change, ask for help or connect with mentors/coaches who can help.

– With Love

Is tech killing your brain?

What happens if your phone dies? What important phone numbers do you have memorized? What happens when your iPAD dies? Can normal TV cut it anymore if your Netflix goes offline? If the KOBO reader dies, can you pickup a book and read instead? With over 75 million songs at your finger tips with Spotify, do we actually appreciate music or just skip thru ..

The addiction is real.

I know I can’t remember more than 2 phone numbers but back in the days of pagers and Motorola phones, I had a dozen numbers in my head .. and a pocket full of quarters. I have friends with little kids who won’t eat without YouTube on at the same time. That is crazy!

I am so used to streaming services and Spotify that when the internet was down for a bit over the weekend, I was frustrated at the shows on TV and realized I didn’t even have a radio in the house.

I am sharing this to get some feedback and some thoughts on how others manage their ‘tech’ and gadget relationships. Let me know ..

⁃ with love

Sell your value not your service.

I was talking to a new startup yesterday and they shared their marketing ideas and I was surprised to see the broad net they were casting and hoping to catch their customers. Running a bunch of FB and Google ads that are not targeted won’t get you the right customer and not knowing what exactly are you selling will also give you bad results. It’s not the platforms that don’t deliver its your approach.

“To be successful and grow your business and revenues, you must match the way you market your products with the way your prospects learn about and shop for your products.” – Brain Halligan, Founder of Hubspot

There are many tools today that can help you understand where your customers are looking and what are they interested in. You can crowdsource purchase intent, you can target and retarget your audience, you can geo and interest target your ideal customers.

Once you have figured out how to connect with them, you need to also figure out what value are you adding? I don’t believe that your product’s features or price point is as important anymore, is about HOW your product or service offers value or solves a customers problem.

As an example, in the case of my latest investment in Bwell Fitness, while our services are fitness classes, one-on-one training and amazing custom meals, what we are really offering our clients is the opportunity to move past their comfort zone and create a new belief system of success that comes small wins in the gym .. and in doing so, use the successes in the gym in other areas of their lives. It’s an incredible mental transformation. That’s what we are selling. The services are how we backup up offer.

Hope this helps! Reach out if I can help with your business or project.

– with love

Seek the truth.

They say the truth will set you free

But the problem is what is truth?

Is it what the media tells you?

Is it what your parents tell you?

Is it what social media tells you?

In today’s world there are so many versions of the truth and it’s very important that you understand the content you are absorbing because that is what is shaping your view of the world and the decisions you’re making in the world.

Seek the truth.

– with love

The cards you are dealt can be changed into a winning hand.

LIFE really is a game. It has very complex rules and sometimes it feels like the rule are being changed mid-game! But the truth is that, like any game, you can study it .. you can connect the dots from your past move and find a personal formula that can help manifest your future .. the winning hand.

I recently played a game of crazy eight with the kids. It has been over 5 years since played last and I didn’t want to play .. the pain of how long that game is, the constant picking up of new cards .. etc .. but under pressure I played anyways.

I was watching how my kids approached the game vs me. I was reminded of something that day .. what was fun to watch was that they did not get ‘defeated’ by the first draw of their cards. They knew that with each pass or with each turn, they get to pick up new cards and EVERY new card had the potential to impact their hand. Good or bad, there was on opportunity to change their outcome with new cards. They looked forward to picking up more cards .. its an innocence we lose as we get older. We put a ton of pressure on being right .. or winning fast and in the hustle, we forget the excitement and fun that comes from embracing ‘the next turn’ ..

I hope the next move you make or the next ‘cards’ you pick up in life get you excited about the possibility of changing the cards your dealt in work or life.. and get your winning hand in life.

– with Love

The person who invented the ship also invented the shipwreck.

I read this a few days ago and it struck me how relevant this is to young CEOs. I come from a time when they did not teach ‘entrepreneurship’ .. and learning on the job was a given. I knew that I will be building and breaking the company as I figured out my role as a CEO.

Today, I meet many new CEO’s or startups who are looking for the perfect formula. They want to make as little mistakes as possible and avoid the ‘shipwreck’. All the help books, YouTube videos and mentors in the world can’t save you from the real lessons that come from making decisions and living with the lessons.

Like the quote said, “the person who invented the ship also invented the shipwreck” .. understand that this will inevitable and continue to work your dreams without fear.

I am off to CES for the first time and looking forward to a few days of ‘back to the future’ .. if you are in Vegas for CES, let’s connect!

– With Love